A Vermont man charged with possessing a stolen religious artifact dating back to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ remained held on $10,000 bail yesterday after pleading not guilty. "The Relic of the True Cross"—which Christians believe was actually part of the cross upon which Christ was crucified more than 2,000 years ago—was stolen last year from a Boston cathedral. It consists of a sliver of wood inside a round brass case about 2 inches wide and was taken from a small glass box in an inner chapel. No one has been charged in the theft, but Earl Frost, 35, has been charged with receiving stolen property.
He told police he got it from someone in Rhode Island, but that he didn't steal it. Vermont State Police say it came to their attention when Frost's partner called to report they'd had a fight. Frost told them the spat was over the artifact, which he wanted to return to the church, not to police. He gave it to police, and church officials later traveled from Boston to Vermont to verify its authenticity. A rep for the archdiocese says the church forgives Frost but that it's up to law enforcement officials to decide on the appropriate prosecution. (Read more relics stories.)